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How did Henry David Thoreau influence change?

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Henry David Thoreau was not highly appreciated during his lifetime, but he is now considered one of the foremost American writers of the 19th century. Even the most recalcitrant young reader should be willing to acknowledge that the question of most concern to Thoreau is a fundamental one: "How, since life is short and one's years are numbered, can one live most abundantly?" In other words, what values should one live by? "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," from Walden, was Thoreau's personal answer, but he insists that he has no wish to prescribe for "strong natures" who have formulated their own value systems. All persons should live "deliberately," having separated the ends of life from the means, he argued; and the instructor should aid students to identify those ends. Accepting without examination current social norms, most persons give no thought, Thoreau charged, to the question of the values by which they live.

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